Confused about Catholic stance on premarital sex; can you help?

My Fiance and I are in a bit of an interesting situation. We both attend mass every Sunday and go to confession every other week. We are both very dedicated to our faith, and strive to grow closer to God. We are both strongly prolife and against contraception. Although it may seem contradictory to our beliefs, we have had sexual intercourse, using both NFP and condoms (in seperate instances). When entering this relationship we made it clear that sex was not an option and we still are very against the hook up culture. We know that we are getting married, and are completely committed to eachother for life, neither of us would ever have relations with another person. We still strongly beleive in the sanctity of marriage, and plan on having a whole crew of kids some day in the near future. However, as I mentioned earlier we are not yet married (But we are not living together) we are not married due to financial restrictions. We consider ourselves to be married in the sense that we are dedicated to each other, and that we are still open to life. Are we committing a mortal sin? My fiancee and I have discussed the issue many times and where we look at it is this: We are married without the recognition of the Church, but as we pray often about it, we would like to believe that God does recognize it to a certain extent. Although we are unsure still of whether or not to confess it if it is a sin, because in order to confess a sin you must regret it, and we do not regret the action (Imagine a wife saying she regrets having sex with her loving husband), however we do regret it insofar as it would offend God.
I know I threw alot at you, but please let me know what you think on our situation, we are desperate to get an opinion from someone who knows what they are talking about, and will not automatically disregard us as idiots mixed up in the hook-up culture.

Dear friend,

Quite regardless of how much you feel married, you are not married—not even a little bit! Therefore, if you have marital relations, you are lying with your bodies. You are expressing sacramental vows with your bodies that do not exist. What you will say at the altar MATTERS. Marriage matters. Our culture is hell-bent on replacing reason with feelings. Please realize how ‘me oriented’ your stance is! You are confused because you can’t regret the feeling of being sexually united when you are still not married. There IS an OBJECTIVE reality outside of how we feel. This is the same dynamic that people who ‘feel’ like the opposite sex use, when they separate gender from the sex that their DNA will always reflect.

In order to confess our sins, we do not have to FEEL regret, we have to know that we have disobeyed God. Note, that even though you have been operating on feelings, you do not acknowledge them as such: “we do not regret the action.” You just presume that they are who you are. Feelings are things that we have or don’t have; they are not who we are.

I’m afraid that our secular culture has had its way with you. I see no malice in your intentions. But you did disobey God’s commandments. So it appears that you need go to Confession over this. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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